Free*! (Archive)

Riknas has come back. I know, it’s horrifying.  I would go on about apologies about me being busy and working on other things, but a long-winded explanation probably isn’t necessary, and would ultimately be a waste of your time.

Anyway, you see the asterisk in the title, yes? Very good, you are capable of seeing basic keyboard characters, I believe we are on the same page. Now, what does it mean to have an asterisk above a word? I’m sure most of you know that the asterisks suggests that it is “Free” (in this case) if you don’t count A, B, and/or C. Really, it’s there for legal reasons. In harmless cases, the “*” is up there to remind you that you need internet access. No purchase necessary, and all that, you know? For instance, Dungeon Runners, as well as Runescape work(ed) on those principals. You didn’t have to buy anything, but in order to play you needed to be able to log on through the internet. Sure, you would normally assume that if you were able to see it online, you had the damn internet. But because of the way that the legal systems work where you can get sued for damn near everything from mysteriously falling down the stairs with no witnesses around and it happened to magically break your legs even though you walked to court fine, to complaining that McDonald’s made you fat; it is necessary for the companies to point out these things so that for some reason someone managed to see the advertisements through some other means, (like, you know. Phasing THROUGH the internet like you’re in the matrix or managed to steal someone’s lap top and THEN see it) you need the internet, and actually need to have an internet provider, which you must pay for (Yea, welcome to the 90’s  guys, way to go).

Of course, this is not always so innocent, since this can also span to the “YOU WON A MILLION DOLLARS* AND A CAR*” which then has the asterisk letting you know that you first need to give your soul and spend nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine dollars to get it. And then you have to use the extra dollar you have left to act as a down payment on the car. In the end though, this is neither here nor there.

If a game is going to be good, time must be invested into it, and if you’re going to invest time, only so much can be spent if you work another job. That said, this suggests that if these game designers want to eat they need to make money off the good* (I’m looking at you Evony) game they made.

All that said, remember how there was that “FREE TO PLAY OMG $$$” where it seemed free games apparently are so awesome that all of them make more money than the subscription ones? Remember this:

They’re not.

Sure, games like Runes of Magic, the aforementioned Runescape, as well as Dungeons and Dragons Online are probably making more than some smaller games, but micro transactions are still a tricky thing to play with.

This is the part where the subscription players make their cry out of how a micro-transaction nickels and dimes you to death. Maybe, maybe not. Remember now, there is no blanket statement any longer due to the sheer number of ways to play the money game: account tweaking, subscriptions, advertisements, micro-transactions, expansions. Even now we blur the lines of what an expansion is. Remember how the Everquest model followed the subscription and regularly buying an expansion box? And next thing you know there are constant updates to games, while Dark Fall and EVE tout their full on free expansions which they claim are TOTALLY DIFFERENT from the normal updates of other games (albeit, there may be some truth to it). And now we have DDO selling us adventure packs, which are micro-transactions…except instead of items or gold these are content purchases. Essentially, online expansions….right?


Regardless, I’m going to step in and finally flip to the bird to those who say micro-transactions are going to topple the world, or those who scream that micro-transactions are for kiddies or just happens to be a fad. In a growing industry, experimentation is becoming the game, and it doesn’t actually look like any real headway is being made while games are being released, boasting such different mechanisms. This isn’t a matter of finding the right one anymore…there’s just different ones coming out as we go.

That’s it for now, Riknas signing off!

((This Archive post has been edited for the sake of accuracy and the removal of outdated references))

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